With Easter fast approaching, Sefton health professionals are reminding people to ensure they use the right NHS service for them, should they or their family members become unwell over the long weekend and also during the first May bank holiday.
GP practices will be closed from Good Friday (19 April) to Easter Monday (22 April) and the early May bank holiday (6 May) but there are several other ways for Sefton residents to access medical help during this time, if they need it.
Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG said: “Pharmacists are a great resource. We recommend taking advantage of all the services available at your local pharmacy for any minor health-related concerns and if you need a GP appointment to think about using the extended access service.
“Pharmacists are highly trained and are able to offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to manage a range of minor health concerns, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy troubles, aches and pains and many more.
“Most pharmacies will have private consultation rooms where they can advise you on self-care treatments and give you advice on your medication.”
If you do need an appointment there are now extended GP appointments of an evening or weekend across Sefton. These appointments can be booked in advance via the GP practice you are registered with or by calling 111.
Fiona Taylor, chief officer at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “The extended access GP service launched last October in Sefton and has been popular ever since. Open 365 days a year the service is really useful over bank holiday weekends like Easter. If you do become unwell and your GP practice is closed you can call 111 to book an appointment with your nearest service as long as you are registered with a GP practice in Sefton.”
Pharmacy opening times will differ over the bank holidays. There will be normal opening times on Saturday (20 April), but a reduced service on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Monday 6 May. You can view the Easter opening times here: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services or www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services
If you’re unsure which service is right for you, ring NHS 111 to speak to a highly trained adviser who will assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
You can also visit 111.nhs.uk to get medical advice on where and when to get help.